Sirisha Badal To Become Second India-Origin Woman Fly In Space From New Mexico July 11 After Kalpana Chawla


New Delhi: Sirisha Bandla will be joining five others including Richard Branson to fly to space aboard ‘VSS Unity’ of Virgin Galactic. It is scheduled to launch on July 11th from New Mexico. Bandla will be the second Indian-born woman to go to space, the first being Kalpana Chawla.

Bandla has joined the 6-member crew as a researcher experience.

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The 34-year-old aeronautical engineer, who graduated from Purdue University will also be the fourth Indian to ever go to space; preceded by Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. The Virgin Galactic is set to launch nine days ahead of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin mission. Taking to Twitter, Bandla shared she was “incredibly honoured” to be part of the crew.

She further expressed her gratitude towards the overwhelming number of messages she has received congratulating her. 


Bandla started working at Virgin Galactic in 2015 and is currently Vice President, Government Affairs and Research Operations of the company. According to an Economic Times report, she was born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh and grew up in Houston, Texas. She is a graduate in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University. Prior to working at Virgin Galactic, she worked as an aerospace engineer in Texas, following which she had a job in space policy at the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF).

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister NN Chandrababu Naidu on Friday tweeted two pictures of the VSS crew and said ‘Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling’.

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